Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho does not believe Manchester United hold an advantage in the sides’ Champions League last-16 tie, despite the Red Devils grabbing an away goal in a 1-1 first-leg draw.
A Danny Welbeck header from a corner was cancelled out by an equally impressive headed finish from Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half, but neither side could find a further breakthrough on Wednesday evening.
And, despite United effectively holding a one-goal lead courtesy of the away goals rule, Mourinho confidently predicted his side can cancel that out at Old Trafford.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Mourinho said: “I think they gave everything, but again it was difficult because we started off well.
“Fabio (Coentrao) had a really good chance when he hit the post, then the first time they go in our half they score a goal out of nothing.
“To be losing 1-0 is not a good situation. After halftime they tried but United played for the result. Their defence was deep but now it is our time to go to Old Trafford and I think 1-1 is not a bad result because everything is open and we can score more than one goal there.”
The Portuguese insisted he expected an open game at the Santiago Bernabeu, but expressed surprise at the deep position taken up by United’s defence.
He continued: “They changed the way they play. They played very deep in the second half. I don’t think Rio or Evans put a foot in our half. I think they were waiting for our set pieces so they could counterattack for the second goal, but we kept them out.
“Normally that would change the game, but they did well. The result is open if you ask me a percentage, I wouldn’t change my thoughts. It is still 50/50.”
The former Chelsea boss also hailed the defensive heroics performed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s side as Los Blancos pushed for a winner.
He explained: “They (United) had to be champions in the second half and champions out of context because we were chasing the game and they were waiting for an opportunity, but this is the CL.”
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund stayed confident of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League after their 2-2 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk.
The outcome gives the Bundesliga side a small advantage in terms of away goals, meaning a 0-0 or 1-1 draw in the second leg would be enough.
Utd reunion was emotional: Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo refused to celebrate his goal during the 1-1 draw with Manchester United out of respect for his six years with the Old Trafford club.
Instead of celebrating, the former world player of the year opted to acknowledge the Real fans before making an almost apologetic gesture to the Red Devils dug-out.
“I was in Manchester for six years so tonight was very emotional for me,” the Portuguese said.
“I scored a goal but I didn’t celebrate out of respect. Maybe United are favourites now, maybe not. Anything can happen.
“It will be amazing to play at Old Trafford again after four years. It will be another emotional night,” he added.